If you suffer from frizzy hair, you know how frustrating it can be to tame. But what causes frizzy hair in the first place? We’ve asked our expert hair scientists and some amazing hairstylists to tell us everything they know about frizzy hair. We've got you covered from information about what causes frizzy hair to the best remedies to help tame frizz!
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What is Frizzy Hair?
“Frizzy hair is the effect of different individual hair fibers running in multiple directions, which is why frizzy hair has a rough feel to it. As a result, hair appears dry and frizzy instead of smooth and defined,” explains Sean Steigerwald, Head R&D Scientist at Kao USA Inc. Frizzy hair can be especially troublesome for those with both thick and frizzy hair, but certain haircuts can help reduce frizz and tame your mane.
Frizzy hair happens when the cuticle layer of your hair is raised, which allows moisture to pass through and swell the strands. But what is the cuticle layer? The cuticle layer refers to the outermost layer of the hair strand that protects the innermost layers of the hair shaft.
If you look at the cuticle layer underneath a microscope, it looks like shingles on a roof. Steigerwald explains that “hair is made up of several different layers of keratin protein, the cuticle (external layer) and the inner layers known as the cortex and medulla.” These layers make up your hair's unique characteristics and behavior. When the cuticle layer is sealed correctly, it can retain moisture in the hair shaft longer, making your hair less prone to frizz.
What Causes Frizzy Hair?
“There are essentially four primary factors that cause frizz,” explains Steigerwald. “The first is the environment, such as humidity. Hair fibers act like sponges, and when exposed to moisture, the hydrophobic bonds created with styling products break as moisture moves in and out of the hair fiber. Then there’s the diameter of the hair fiber itself. As we learned previously, frizz is misaligned hair fibers; the thicker the hair fiber, the more difficult it is to reshape and realign. The third cause is related to how curly a person’s hair is. The curlier the hair, the greater the challenge it is to align the hair fibers.”
Curly hair can be prone to frizz, but certain hairstyles work to tame frizz and define your beautiful, curly hair. Lastly, Steigerwald tells us that “the amount of damage to the hair leads to frizz. For instance, split ends, cuticle loss, and breakage give hair that frizzy look because the hair fibers aren’t uniform or aligned.”
In addition to these four frizz-causing factors, our top stylists gave us a few more tips on how to avoid frizzy hair:
- Avoid using a terry cloth towel to dry your hair. Cloth towels can add damaging friction to your hair. Instead of drying your hair with a terry cloth towel, air dry your hair or use a microfiber towel.
- Avoid using a traditional bristle hairbrush. Certain hairbrushes can damage hair cuticles and lead to frizz. Switch to a wide-tooth comb to prevent breakage.
- Avoid using an old blow dryer. Traditional hair dryers use hot air to dry your hair quickly. Excess heat can damage your hair and lead to frizz. Instead, pick an ionic hair dryer to reduce damage while drying your hair.
- Avoid washing your hair every day. Washing your hair too often can deplete your hair of moisture and raise your hair cuticles, both of which contribute to frizz. Instead, wash your hair 2-3 times a week to prevent frizz.
- Frizzy hair happens when all the different individual hair fibers run in multiple directions.
- Four primary factors cause frizz: the environment, diameter of the hair fiber itself, level of curl, and the amount of damage.
- Avoid long and hot showers, excess exfoliation, and hot tools like traditional hairdryers and flat irons to prevent frizz.
- Use the John Frieda Frizz Ease collection to improve frizz.